Incura- Incura

Incura- Incura

  • 02 Feb. 2013
  • Artist: Incura
  • Released: February 26, 2013
  • Genre: Progressive Rock
  • Posted by: lonestar


Photo Credit: Mark Maryanovich

Photo Credit: Mark Maryanovich

I’m not going to try any clever intro, or use any sly metaphor to begin this review. I came across Incura while randomly testing new bands I came across searching the internet, and was instantly hooked. I forwarded a YouTube video to the Lady, and she was instantly hooked too. There was no “getting the feel of them” or “warming up to their sound” adjustment period.  Incura managed to bypass all those defense mechanisms lovers of music build up to protect themselves from spending valuable music listening time trying to acclimate to it. From note one, they had me, and I was totally cool with it. The Lady was so excited, she couldn’t even wait for my review to scream about them, hence her introductory piece. Upon reading her piece, I wondered as to what I was going to say. Though it seemed that not a lot of wiggle room was left for me to write about the band and their upcoming self titled album, I realized that Incura took care of that for us. There music is so deeply textured, that for every layer the Lady wrote about, there were many more beneath. Such is the hallmark of true art.

The Lady described their vibe as Vaudevillian, their website claims a heavy Andrew Lloyd Webber influence. Before seeing either of these descriptions though, the only description I could muster was Shakespearean. By that, I mean an incredible mixture of comedy and tragedy portrayed via brilliantly colorful language set to a perfect meter. So why don’t we meet the players before I dig into this album a bit more. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Incura consist of Jono Olson on bass, Jim McLaren on keys, Royce Whittaker on guitar, Phil Gardner on drums, and are fronted by Kyle Gruninger on vocals. As to their style, I’m not even going to try. In doing my research, I came across more attempts to label Incura than I can count, so I’m going to stick with my initial one, they kick ass, period.

This is shown right out of the gates with Get the Gun. In fact, they set the tone for the whole album here. This is a catchy number, one that gets stuck in the head and under the skin. As with the rest of the album, the dramatic edge takes center stage, with an intro that would be worthy of any curtain rising or overture. Then a hushed, almost whispered chorus piece, and the band jumps out all with all cylinders firing. Before I go any further though, I do need to say something. Behind all the flourish, all the flair and dramatics, this band is comprised of exceptionally solid musicians at its core. No instrument lags behind, and other than Gruninger’s vocals, none take center stage. They all are incredibly well balanced and structured, quite a feat for music that is as dynamic as what appears here. They refuse to settle into any groove, instead exploding out. On what would seem a progressive rock base, they layer hard metal chords, fluidic and airy strokes, and raucous, over the edge instrumentals. On top of all this are the vocals. Gruninger’s vocals are more than competent, they are more than excellent. This man brings so much passion and soul to his singing, he becomes the thematic element that the music is trying to convey. In Get the Gun, he opens with a simple, “All I want is to be with you, and all I ask is that you love me to…” Somewhere we have all been at one point or another, right? Then he takes it to the extreme, let’s the obsession at the core of the song take him over. The despair of the unfulfilled runs rampant, and bleeds out of every lyric sung. Coupled with the searing and forceful music, it presents a total package that gets the theme across like a semi truck plowing into you at full speed.

They use this combination of outstanding instrumentation and outlandishly colorful vocals on every song to convey whatever theme is at hand, and they do this very, very well. This is where I got that Shakespeare vibe from them. Though having the skills of the best of writers, it was his use of those skills, and the way he stretched his themes to the extreme that put him over the top on so many of his plays. Incura does this same thing, they take all the raw talent and skills they have, apply it to some pretty common themes that they expand to the extreme,  add harrowing lyrics, and package it together in music that is wonderfully comedic at once, dark and tragic at others. The perfect example is Who You Are. Though thumping chords open it, it is the piano straight out of a silent film that really sets the tone, and this is the tone Guninger runs with, his opening vocals border on the ludicrous in how playful they are. It is plain to anyone that he has some serious fun with this one. Then they jump into the chorus, and once again, the hard rock roots take the forestage, and they give us another classic riff that just won’t leave….my……. head. Packaged in all this is a short yet brilliant instrumental interlude that musically shows in stellar fashion that hesitant yet overblown desire that a beautiful unknown woman can put into the average guy upon first sight. Though every song has the crunchy, progressive rock/metal roots, what these guys do with the extraneous parts is truly art. It is that that makes them veritably unclassifiable, and you know what, I’m cool with that.

Throughout the album, Incura takes themes that are fairly common in life, and puts them on a stage, brings them to brilliant life. They don’t skip a single detail in this either, I think that is more to their credit than anything else. They pull the feat off with brilliance, and I really can’t stress this enough, there is something very, very special happening here. Labeling, classifying, and trying to box it up is intrinsic to the nature of all lovers of music, but I feel to do that to Incura is an injustice. This is a band that sets out to break boundaries, to bend rules, to run free. We each have an innate part of us that desires this kind of liberty too, and that is what Incura speaks to. It bypasses all the societal blocks and speaks to our inner soul. Probably explains why I can’t get their damn songs out of my head. Where are they going from here, I’m not sure even the band knows exactly that, but I do plan to be there to bear witness to it.

About the author

lonestar
As a practicing chef of 20+ years experience, I realize in an intimate way what it means to have taste satisfied, and that's how I choose my music. Throw all the fluff, pomp, and trimmings out the window, I want the works that satiate my soul. When I find it, I like to share it with everyone, to share and celebrate that feeling of wondrous serenity that only music can deliver.